IT support in Israel – replacing fans in PCs

Skip this if you don’t want to read IT repair work,  this is just an example of things I do at my work, that saves us money and time and keeps equipment running longer.

We had this PC that was spare I was going to set up for our personal department, I spend hours getting it ready with Windows XP plus 100+ updates, Adobe Writer, database and another 10 or so specialist apps only to find I got some strange errors when booting it mentioning it had a fan problem.

To my surprise there was actually 4 different fan faults!

  1. The fan in the power supply was wearing out, so for the first 30 minutes until it warms up when you use the computer it sounds like an elderly blender!
  2. On top of the main processor (which is an AMD Athlon 64 3000 chip)   the fan appears to be spinning slower than normal, this is was giving the error upon boot up
  3. Also, the chipset fan, which is a little fan that is integrated into the motherboard was completely dead, not spinning at all.  This was probably causing it to freeze in Windows as well.
  4. Lastly, there is meant to be fan on the back chassis of the PC, this was missing.

I bought this from a local computer shop.  Actually this is the bad one, but you can see this fan has a 4 pin drive connector on these.  I don’t like these at all, this makes the voltage supply to the PC’s hard drive unstable and can cause the hard disk to malfunction, its better to use a fan with a 3 pin connector that plugs into the motherboard, on this one there are two connectors on this PC for this purpose.   I had to look in 4 computer shops around Jerusalem to get these fans, as they had none, or only 1 or 2 in stock!

So, the last standard ATX power supply I bought to fix another PC recently cost us 200 Shekels which I thought was a bit expensive, as it was just a fan failing, I opened up the metal casing of the power supply and snipped the wires on the fan, and as this fan was just an 88mm type unit I snipped the wires on this and twist the wires together and sealed it up with tape – no more grinding from back of this computer.

Now normally the heatsink and fan on top of the AMD Athlon 64 754 type processor you buy as a set, but this type of AMD chip is obsolete and not been made in about 5 years so finding this part could be difficult.   Actually it was easy as the fan was also just an 88mm unit, so just needed to take 4 philips screws out to replace this part.

The motherboard chipset fan was more tricky.   I had to get this part from ebay as its manufactured directly for Asus, the board manufacturer.

As you can see this fan has the plastic fastening bolts off centre and a small two pin wire that feeds back to the main board.

Lastly, I fitted one more 88mm fan on the back panel of the PC.

This is what I got, which was about US$10/£6.50, this meant I had to completely gut the PC and remove all cards and wiring, flip the whole motherboard assembly upside down and squeeze two plastic lugs to free this little fan and fit this new one.

Lastly, the front USB ports had broken off and come loose inside the PC, this happens a lot on poor quality clone PCs, this case I think was one of the ‘medium’ quality ones I have used though.   I used a glue gun (one of those things you push glue sticks in the back)  to fix this back on the inside of the front plastic fascia.   I don’t know how much structural strength this has now, but seem ok at the moment.

All these little repairs have saved me from having to throw the PC out or buy drastically more expensive parts.

For some reason, doing IT support in a hot desert like country like Israel, means with the high amount of dust around, I am often replacing fans on computers of all kinds.   It seems the oil in the motor bearings solidifies causing friction noise when spinning up, this is especially true when a PC hasn’t been switched on in months when introducing a new staff member.

On a typical day I am normally answering calls to the helpdesk, researching on new IT solutions for the future, managing backups, setting up new staff on the servers, fixing staff’s own laptops as well as repairing or replacing failing hardware.

3 comments on “IT support in Israel – replacing fans in PCs

  1. I was extremely captivated to get my hands on this article, it resonates with many other things I’ve been perusing recently. Much appreciation.

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